St. Louis Public Radio News
5:26 pm
Fri January 15, 2010

River ice causing problems for barges

St. Louis, MO – Barges on the Mississippi River are dealing with what some are calling the worst ice conditions in 20 years.

Ice accumulation on the river north of St. Louis has required three barge industry vessels to work constantly to keep the channel open between the Illinois River and the Melvin Price Locks and Dam just south of Alton. Alan Dooley is a spokesman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

"It's very important that we keep the river open up to the Illinois River and northward because that has severe economic consequences if you lose navigation up to and into and out of the Illinois River."

Dooley says the ice buildup became so severe that the lock was shut down completely for almost 12 hours Friday, reopening just before 1 p.m.